Monday, October 23, 2017

Italy great Pirlo to retire from football

SoccerNews in Serie A 8 Oct 2017

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Andrea Pirlo has confirmed he will retire from football when his New York City contract expires in December.

The 38-year-old has only made 15 MLS appearances this year, having struggled to regain full fitness following a knee injury.

The former Juventus and AC Milan star says he no longer feels capable of training as he would like to and intends to call time on his career at the end of the season.

“You just come to realise that the time has come,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “You have physical problems every day, you can’t train as you would like to because you always have something.

“At my age, that’s enough. It’s not as though you can go on until you’re 50. I’ll do something else.”

Pirlo has been tipped to go straight into coaching and was linked with a move to England to become Antonio Conte’s assistant at Chelsea last season.

However, the World Cup-winning midfielder says he has no plans in place for the time being.

“I don’t know yet,” he said when asked what his next move will be. “I’ll be back in Italy in December. There are things that are said, but give me time to decide.

“If you get a call from a first team right away, it’s hard to refuse. I repeat: for now, I don’t have that intention.

“After 25 years of football, I will be at home with my family. I’ll play golf and tennis to keep fit.”

Pirlo, who began his career with Brescia, won Serie A and the Champions League twice among a host of honours with Milan.

He joined Juve in 2011 and won a further four league titles, as well as the Coppa Italia and two Supercoppa Italiana medals, and reached another Champions League final in 2015.

He won 116 senior caps for Italy, winning the World Cup in 2006 and reaching the final of Euro 2012.

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